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Variability is the Word

September 13, 2010

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Harvest is underway across most of the Corn Belt and this year seems to be producing either good or bad. There’s not a lot of in between, most farmers report.

In Arkansas, drought has hit St. Franci, Lee and Crittenden Counties particularly hard. The farmers dealing with this does not believe USDA’s projection that Arkansas will yield an average of 2 bu./acre higher than last year. “That's a farce! I knew that things were bad, but when I heard that one farmer south of me cut for three days to fill one truck, that's really bad!


We have not had a rain in five weeks, along with 100° heat. One big problem this year is that it was so hot that rice farmers could not divert any water over to soybeans because the water level in their rice kept evaporating in the heat. They had to constantly pump water to the rice and couldn't switch over to beans.”


In east-central Illinois, there is likely empathy for the farmer from Arkansas. “Very dry for weeks. Corn is running 15% to 20% moisture, 40 to 120 bu./acre on good low ground and 140 to 250 on high, light soils. Diplodia is fairly bad on several varieties from different companies, stalks are weak and brittle. SDS is common in some of the soybeans and some pods aborted due to the drought. Too much rain, then too much heat, then no rain, and intense heat has really hurt the yields. The first 160 acres harvested averaged 151 bu./acre with the good and the bad and the ugly,” reports the farmer from Coles County.


Crops appear to be considerably better the further north you go. In Butler Co., Iowa, a one-inch rain on September 2 was welcomed for soybean producers. This farmer believed that moisture would help fill out the bean crop that should be ready in mid-September.


In central Iowa, a farmer from Poweshiek County says corn harvest is just beginning on September 13. Despite considerable rainfall this year, the corn is relatively dry and they’re getting pretty good yields. “urprising moisture at 19% to 23% and yields of early varieties in the 175 to 200 bu./acre area. We had 40" of rain for the growing season, with at least 10" to 15" more than that just to our south. A few bean fields getting close to harvest, but most are two weeks away. It looks like spraying corn fungicide paid this year!”


In Hardin County, Iowa, one farmer reports 220 bu./acre from one field at 22% moisture. He’s happy.

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